The Cardinals did OK without Allen Craig.
Craig went down with a Lisfranc injury to his left foot during the fourth inning of a September 4 contest against the Reds. His replacement, Matt Adams, wound up hitting two extra-innings homers in a win that night and batted .326/.355/.629 with eight homers over 24 games as the Cards went 18-6 without Craig down the stretch. Then, of course, they managed to down the Pirates and Dodgers to reach the World Series despite not having their top RBI man.
Still, no one in their right mind would tell you St. Louis wouldn’t benefit from getting Craig back, and, barring a surprise, it looks like they will.
Craig has been taking live batting practice and doing some running over the last few days and is feeling well enough that he’s expected to serve as the designated hitter for Games 1 and 2 in Boston and bat off the bench for Games 3 and 4 in St. Louis. He has yet to perform any defensive drills, but it’s possible he could be ready to play first base in Game 5 versus southpaw Jon Lester.
“I’ve made some progress in the last week so I don’t see any reason why I can’t continue to improve,” Craig told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I feel like we’ve timed it pretty well. The World Series is starting this week and I’m starting to feel better.”
While the Cardinals are getting a slugger back, the Red Sox will lose one of theirs, at least for the games played in St. Louis.
Manager John Farrell said that David Ortiz would shift to first base when the club loses the DH, meaning Mike Napoli will be on the bench. Farrell didn’t say how many starts at first Ortiz would receive, leaving open the possibility that Napoli could be in the lineup for a game in St. Louis.
"Well with David going to first base, which he will when we get over to St. Louis, how many days he'll play in those three games there remains to be seen," Farrell told MLB.com. "It is different for us. Personally, when we go into National League ballparks, I think we're in a greater disadvantage than the reverse of that when National League teams come in here."
The two clubs also revealed, to the surprise of no one, that Adam Wainwright and Jon Lester would be starting Game 1 in Boston on Wednesday. The starters beyond that have not yet been announced, but the Cards are sure to go with Michael Wacha in Game 2, Joe Kelly in Game 3 and Lance Lynn in Game 4, with Shelby Miller remaining in the bullpen. The Red Sox are expected to go with John Lackey in Game 2, Clay Buchholz in Game 3 and Jake Peavy in Game 4.
Kemp Has Another Surgery
Earlier this month, Matt Kemp underwent surgery to repair the AC joint in his left shoulder. Less than two weeks later, it was time for another operation.
Kemp had surgery Monday on his left ankle to have torn cartilage, bone spurs and loose bodies removed, as well as a microfracture of his talus bone repaired. It is the ankle ailment, of course, that caused his 2013 season to end prematurely.
The outfielder will have to get around on a scooter for the next month and then will wear a walking boot for another month after that. A clear timetable for his game readiness won’t be known until he does some running without the boot, but the anticipation is that he’ll be fine by Opening Day.
Dodgers Sign Guerrero
The Dodgers had a deal in place to sign Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero last month but pulled out after they discovered that his first representatives were not certified agents. Guerrero’s new agent, Scott Boras, wound up getting him a deal with the Dodgers, anyway.
Guerrero inked a four-year, $28 million deal with the Dodgers on Monday. The 26-year-old will receive a $10 million signing bonus and will have the chance to earn an additional $1 million per year with incentives. He cannot be offered arbitration following the conclusion of the deal, setting him up to hit free agency again when he’s 30.
The scouting report on Guerrero is that he has plenty of pop in his bat and should settle in as the starting second baseman for the Dodgers. The club has a $5.75 million option on Mark Ellis for 2014, but the signing of Guerrero would seem to indicate that they’ll pay Ellis a $1 million buyout instead. The deal also rules the Dodgers out of the Robinson Cano sweepstakes.
National League Quick Hits: The Reds will name pitching coach Bryan Price their new manager on Tuesday ... Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said Monday that he's not sure he will return for the 2014 season even though his option vested after his club beat the Braves in the NLDS. The skipper wants a new multi-year deal ... CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman says Tim Lincecum is looking for a one- or two-year contract as he attempts to rebuild his value ... Taylor Green has re-signed with the Brewers on a minor league deal ...
American League Quick Hits: Jim Leyland has stepped down as manager of the Tigers and will assume another position in the organization. Leyland went 700-597 during his eight seasons with Detroit and took the club to the World Series twice ... Jonny Gomes will start in left field over Daniel Nava in Game 1 of the World Series ... Bruce Rondon has been diagnosed with a flexor strain in his right elbow, but he will not undergo surgery ... Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun hears that the Blue Jays are eyeing Angels catchers Chris Iannetta and Hank Conger as possible trade targets ...